Apart from being an amazingly beautiful course in a stunning area, I got to spend the time with my good friend and amazing runner, Michelle Lowry. (Stay tuned for a blog post about her soon - you will be blown away!)
In addition, I spent the few days before and after the race on my own in Milan.
Basically, I was in heaven.
Add to that, despite not feeling the best on the start line - I'd fallen over while running 10 days before the race and ended up with stitches, and by race day I had a cold - I ran faster than I ever dreamed I could. I finished 4th female in a time of 1.34.06 for the 25km run. Amazingly (well amazing to me anyway), I went through 21km in well under 80 minutes. Something I never dreamed I could really do. I was absolutely stoked.
Michelle also ran so well to finish in a time of 1.36.53 and in 8th position. Last time she ran, Michelle finished 4th, but considering that she's now doing a PhD and has three sons, this is even more incredible. You can check out the full list of results here.
I've got to say, the luxury of travelling to a race and having time to focus on just racing was amazing.
And as much as I love my family, having some time to myself (mostly spent shopping - but hey, it's Milan!!! Did anyone say designer outlet stores??? What's girl to do!) was also great. I never really appreciated having time to myself until I had a child. I felt like I was young and backpacking again - except that this time I could actually afford to buy food and drink in bars! Amazing! Incredible! The best thing ever!!
Here is what I got up to....
|Waiting to board my flight to Milan... practicing the first in a series of week long selfies. Can you tell I've finally discovered Instagram?
|Pre-race warm up run in the beautiful and sunny Milan
|Pre-race run with Michelle - we made it to Sarnico
|The reason I look so happy in this photo is because I know I'm done running until the race start.
|The obligatory pre-race finish line photo
|We look so fit at the race pack pickup!
|Practicing for when I really cross the finish line
|Pre-race ham loading
|Amazing food, though I don't think I've eaten quite so much ham in my entire life!
|Obligatory pre-race gear shot. I'm such a newbie at getting an elite start that I still LOVE it when I get my own special number with my name on it.
|Obligatory pre-race pretty nails; I'm pretty sure they make me run faster.
|The start line on race day; wet, busy, crowded.
|Pre-race; do we look nervous? You can barely see my scabby knees.
|The top three finishers; I took this photo so that if I'm ever back at this race, I know what I'm aiming for.
|Post-race; wet and cold but happy.
And now the fun bit; post race EATING!!!
|Can anyone say happy? Chocolate affogato! Bliss!
|Pretty happy about the size of the calzone
|Obviously, I finished the entire thing and I also may have helped Michelle with a slice of her pizza.
|I was still not too full for desert
|Yet more desert
|One of the best meals I've ever eaten. Love that lovely Milanese veal.
|It just would not be Italy without chocolate!
|Nor would it be Italy without appretivs!
|Prosecco at the Armani Bamboo Bar. It had to be done. Plus the excellent Italian tradition of bringing snacks to accompany drinks meant I didn't need dinner. Amazing!
|Incredibly decedent afternoon tea on my last afternoon in Milan.
|Far out! I love coffee!
|Proof I did not just sit in cafes and bars; Michelle took us to Bergamo post race; that girl has got energy! I was trying to avoid walking.
|We also went to Como and Bellagio on Lake Como; possibly one of the most beautiful places in the world.
|After Michelle left, I concede that I spent a lot of time, sitting down in cafes. My legs were tired.
|The view from my hotel window in Milan; so Italian!
|Proof I did more than shop and eat! The Duomo in Milan.
|I may have bought shoes at D&G.... (though only at the outlet!)
|Maybe also at Gucci. I had no choice. I saw them, and they were so cheap. I was like, "C'mon! I have to!" I used all my willpower in the race. I had none left over to resist spending money on shoes.